SO­CIAL DIS­TANC­ING ON THE TRAIL

Need to es­cape from the in­doors? Wheel­ing can still be en­joyed de­spite the cur­rent Covid-19 cli­mate. Here’s how to do it safely.

4WDrive - - Contents - Words by JD Keat­ing Pho­tos by Brad Mor­ris @Dad­s_That_Wheel

Ex­plor­ing in your ve­hi­cle has al­ways been an es­sen­tial form of es­cape. How­ever, with so­ci­etal norms ever chang­ing, and new re­stric­tions be­ing con­stantly im­ple­mented, we all need to es­cape and re­mind our­selves of what is im­por­tant now more than ever.

The sim­plic­ity of be­ing out in na­ture and en­joy­ing the adventure of ex­plor­ing are a nat­u­ral ap­peal for us off-road­ers. How­ever, the open road is start­ing to be­come con­vo­luted in today’s cli­mate. You can still get out ex­plor­ing and we will show you how to take ad­van­tage of this sit­u­a­tion while si­mul­ta­ne­ously re­spect­ing so­ci­etal ex­pec­ta­tions.

While the world is teem­ing with ac­tiv­ity and in­for­ma­tion from all fronts, there’s no bet­ter time than now to get away. Al­though es­cape does sound ap­peal­ing, there are some new pre­cau­tions to be aware of be­fore jump­ing in your rig and hit­ting the road.

In ad­di­tion to de­vis­ing the usual check­list of tools, a first aid kit, re­cov­ery gear, and snacks, we must all now be hy­per-aware of so­cial dis­tanc­ing pre­cau­tions. This doesn’t mean it’s more com­pli­cated to get away. Quite the con­trary, with a lit­tle plan­ning, ad­ven­tur­ing these days can be even more re­ward­ing.

With this in mind, we reached out to a few friends (and one novice) that are off-road­ers and asked to tag along on Pin­ion Pass Trail in Cal­abo­gie Hills, ON, one of the most chal­leng­ing trails in the area. The goal was simple; ex­pe­ri­ence a new trail in our rigs, meet some peo­ple, see some new coun­try­side, and most im­por­tantly, get out and get away.

The group was small – ad­her­ing to lo­cal gath­er­ing by-laws – which meant more ground cov­ered on the trails, less back log and less trail traf­fic. We stocked up on snacks, fuel and other provisions be­fore we en­tered the out­skirts, thus lim­it­ing our en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print and ex­po­sure in the lo­cal com­mu­nity whose trails and land we were trav­el­ling on.

Af­ter meet­ing up with our new guides and ex­chang­ing pleas­antries, we hit the trail quicker than usual. Small talk was ac­tu­ally kept to a min­i­mum since we were all un­sure how to so­cial­ize while main­tain­ing dis­tance. This meant more time on the trail. Win for us! This par­tic­u­lar trail was mostly Cana­dian Shield rock, off-cam­ber ar­eas, a few wa­ter cross­ings, a beaver dam, and what turned out to be a bro­ken bridge cross­ing that forced us an hourand-a-half out of our way.

Never fol­low too close.

Two-me­ter (6 ft spac­ing) at all times

Bridge out. Know your trail and map your route. Ne­go­ti­at­ing some of the first chal­lenges of our wheel­ing sea­son.

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